Some time ago I wrote about Four Winning Approaches to Writing a Cold Email. Hopefully that article helped you break through the hundreds of emails your prospect gets every day. It’s one of the most popular posts on the site, so it’s helping someone out there. But now you’ve got to keep in touch and build trust with this person. Here are three examples of “Keeping in Touch” emails, plus a “Getting Back in Touch” template. As a reminder, the four approaches are:
- Adding Value
In all cases, your email should be as specific, detailed and genuine as possible. “Specific” means you could get through the prospect’s personal spam filter. “Detailed” means that you are actually providing something useful – you’ve spent the time to think about the prospect’s situation and can propose actionable solutions. And “Genuine” means just that. No bullshit. Don’t try to be anyone’s best buddy. Just be yourself, be honest, and be clear.
The basic approach with these Keeping in Touch emails is to switch tactics. If you were Congratulating a prospect, switch to Adding Value or Off-Topic. If you started with Off-Topic, go to Adding Value. Mix up your approach to demonstrate your depth as a resource and a person.
Here’s a Congratulations email to follow an Adding Value opening:
Last week I sent you an article from The Economist on [changing industry dynamic] because it seemed to speak to your situation. This morning I find out your team has announced a whole new product line! Congratulations to you and your team on the launch. I know how hard it is to build something from scratch. In looking over the materials you posted, I had two questions:
1. [A genuine non-self-serving question about how it works]
2. [A question about how it could intersect with your company's product]
The reason I’m asking is that my company makes [XXX] and [YYY]. I’m always trying to find new applications and to learn new approaches for our work here.
Interested to hear your thoughts,
Three quick notes on this template:
- I always use “you” and “yours” when talking about the prospect’s company. Personal pronouns personalize the email. When talking about the other company employees, I _always_ say “your team” because a) they are all on the same team and b) from the reader’s point of view, it’s a bit flattering to hear that someone outside the company might think that these unrelated departments are all part of “my team.”
- This approach is easily adopted for press coverage, new customer announcements, new exec hires, etc. Keep the format, completely change the content in those situations.
- It might be tempting to end with “Let’s schedule a call to discuss” or somesuch. Don’t do it. Let the person get back to you via email if they want. If they do, you are building communication. If they don’t, there are more templates below.
It might be tempting to end with “Let’s schedule a call to discuss” or somesuch. Don’t do it.
Here’s an Adding Value template to follow a Congratulations opening:
Your news last week made an impression on me – I’ve found myself thinking about your company a fair amount since then. Here’s a Business Week article that thoughtfully describes some of the same opportunities that your announcement addressed [link]. Am I reading this right? [Question about how the article impacts Sarah's company]?
Hope you find it interesting!
Notes on this template:
- Yes! It’s short! Congratulations emails run the risk of fawning/ass-kissing. The goal here is to Add Value, ask a question in case the prospect wants to engage, and then get out of the way.
- Keep it relevant. The only way this approach will work is if you can connect the dots. If you are working too hard to cram the Congrats and the Value together – stop and find something else to say.
Here’s an Adding Value template to follow an Off-Topic opening:
Note: Remember that the Off-Topic approach is the riskiest one. It’s inspired by something timely and personal that the prospect puts out in a public forum. Now you have to pull back to prove your professional value while dispelling once and for all the fear that you are a stalker.
Hope those restaurant recommendations for Houston served you well. I’d love to hear if any of them worked out. I’ve been doing some thinking about your company, and I was wondering if you know [high-value contact of yours]. She’s the SVP at [potentially interesting customer/prospect for William]. I’d guess that with their [new office in China, interest in injection molding, etc.] and your accomplishments in the same, you guys might enjoy talking.
Want me to make an introduction?
Note: Salespeople don’t do enough trading of introductions. It’s an incredibly effective way to add value to a prospect’s professional life. It costs nothing. And, if you do it properly, it can be beneficial to both parties. There are very few people who won’t respond, at least with a “no thanks”, to this kind of email.
Finally, here’s a Getting Back in Touch template in case it’s been a while:
I hope this note finds you well. You guys have been busy since we last talked! I saw your announcement of [X] and [Y]. Congratulations! Things have been going well over here too – we released [new feature of relevant product] and have been getting great feedback from our customers.
Are you going to be [at industry event or in city of Sam's HQ] in two weeks? I’m heading out, and I’d love to ask you about [your announcement Y]. I have a thought about how it might dovetail with some of the R&D work we’re doing here. Let me know if you’ll be in town.
All the best,
Note: Compared to the templates above, this one goes right for the meeting. I’m imagining that you’ve been out of touch because the prospect isn’t hot, or the fit isn’t great. Oftentimes it’s better to just find out interest level for sure by asking about a meeting opportunity.
If you’ve been out of touch because you forgot to follow up… you should be using Yesware. Recovering from a negative response to this email is easy. After the trip/conference, its “Sorry we missed each other. I had a great steak at Abe’s! Maybe next time.” and you are back in touch. And if your dangling of R&D previews works, you’ve got another meeting for your trip.
Yesware is a free add-on for Chrome and Firefox that will help you close more deals, faster.Add Yesware to Gmail